|System: DS (DSiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Nintendo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 12, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: N/A||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
Video games are getting more and more inventive these days. I have to admit after playing LittleBigPlanet nothing surprises me anymore, yet this new addition to the DSi line-up of downloadable games has managed to light up a new flame. Rather than a game, its an application, but a darn good one, especially for those who have enough creative juices flowing.
I, for one, used to create animations on Adobe Flash, so Im glad to see a user-friendly app for the DSi that allows you to do similar things. Its like a mini YouTube with animations instead of videos. I had been very frustrated lately with the DSiWare downloads available, mostly due to the massive amount of Brain Age Express and Art Style releases, but luckily, heres one new thing that makes the DSi worthwhile.
When you open the program, you have the option to create a new Flipnote, view an existing one from either your memory card or your system's memory, or view other users' creations in Flipnote Hatena. This latter option is not part of Flipnote Studio, but it complements it really well, as it allows users to publish their own animations and get them rated by other people once they get an ID. Being able to see other users' work is also very inspiring. It's amazing what people can do with a simple program, a touch screen, and a stylus! Should we add the term "free time" to the formula?
In any case, Flipnote Studio is very simple to use and most people will quickly get the hang of it. In order to create a new note, you just hit "Create Flipnote" and start drawing. If you tap the little frog icon, which by the way makes a cute froggy sound, the menu will show up. Alternatively, you can just hit the "up" button on the D-pad. Different options are mapped to the DSi buttons, which makes things really easy, but if you want to go more in-depth and change some of the settings, edit frames, or use pictures and sounds, you need to enter the menu mentioned above. Here, you can select multiple drawing and fill brushes, erasers, and one of three colors. Also, you can pick black or white paper, and the light-box effect, which makes each page transparent so when you're drawing on the next page, you can see what you drew in the previous one and follow along with it.
In addition to these features, you can change the settings. That way, when you start a new page, it'll make a copy of the previous one. This makes it easy, so you can just tweak a little something on the new frame and move on to the next one. If you go to the frame menu, you can also manipulate frames in different ways - you can move them around, insert new ones, copy and paste existing ones, etc. Changing the animation speed also helps to get the desired effects.
One cool and useful option is to employ previously saved pictures to create your animations. However, if you want a new picture, you have to exit out the program and go to the DSi's Picture Studio in order to take it, which is somewhat impractical. Some more integration with the other DSi features such as the Picture and the Sound Studio would have been nice. Also, you don't get to use a picture exactly, but rather a black and white version of it with different shade options you can tweak by adjusting the sliders. Either way, by using existing photos instead of starting from scratch, users can create very neat Flipnotes.